So, I don't know about the rest of the universe, but I brush my teeth twice a day: when I wake up and when I go to sleep. Weirdly enough, though, I tend to follow this mouth cleansing with a wonderful, teeth-staining cup of coffee within 10 minutes.
Many people will wait until after they've had breakfast to brush their teeth, and another group will take it a step further and brush after every meal.
Well, not to be gross, but I am not in those groups. My almost 23 years of no cavities or braces have told me that my technique of brushing twice a day is perfectly acceptable, nor do I have the time or patience to brush after every meal.
Especially considering that literally all times have the potential to be meal times in my mind.
Regardless, it's safe to assume that we all agree that brushing our teeth is good for us (I won't get into the whole flossing debacle). Dental health is all that and a box of crackers and especially good for preventing halitosis and mouth cancer.
Even so, some people may doubt the necessity of brushing one's teeth so often. It's probably the least consistent of all daily routines. I know I've just grabbed a stick of mint gum when I'm running late as opposed to taking the two to three minutes to actually clean my teeth.
Okay. Before I lose you entirely with my confessions of inadequate hygiene, lemme let you on a secret: this is all just as true for self-care as it is for brushing teeth.
Stick with me here. Self-care is that thing that's supposed to help you through the stresses of life. Essentially, it's care for your self.
I know, I don't make this stuff up, kids.
Self-care can be anything from getting an extra five minutes of sleep to canceling Friday-night plans when the week has you emotionally drained to treating yourself with a steak dinner instead of ramen for once.
However, because it looks different for everyone, it can be hard for us to validate actually doing self-care. It's much easier to pretend plaque is a big ol' lie when you can barely tell it's even there.
Plaque, like stress, builds up, though. You can only chew so many sticks of mint gum until you start feeling like you've french-kissed a bowl of lard. Imagine your dentist's face when you finally get around to meeting with them, too.
Same with self-care. Stress can only build up so much until your entire life is consumed by stress. Your teeth might not rot and fall out, but your hair might fall out and the panic attacks might set in.
Self-care brushes away stress like a toothbrush gets rid of plaque. Do it too much, and you'll have sore gums and an extreme tendency to avoid responsibilities. Do it too little, and you'll have cavities and stress for days.
Now, I'm not here to tell you what to do. I'm not a licensed anything, and I'm a beta adult, at best. However, I have interacted with the human race just enough to know that we're all unique; therefore, we all need different routines to help de-stress.
Revolutionary work here, I know, but seriously. Take a bit to find a system that works for you. Whether it's brushing your teeth right when you wake up and taking yourself out to brunch or it's making yourself a kick-ass breakfast at home and then brushing your teeth afterwards, each person is different and each person needs their own method.
For me, I run outdoors, read for fun, and treat myself to good food with good friends. I also try to wake up with enough time to brush my teeth before I have to get to class.
Moral of the story: Self-care is essential for life. Find a routine that works for you and creates the balance you need in life.
And, most importantly, brush your teeth.